Isaiah’s life and times – a brief portrait

July 12, 2023

By Editorial Team

The Prophet Isaiah by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

"And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, …and my God shall be my strength" Isaiah 49:5

We know a lot about Isaiah’s prophecies, but here let me try and do a portrait of the man, give you the context and help you read the book.

Isaiah had a royal lineage, his dad Amoz was King Amaziah’s brother. So King Uzziah (Amaziah’s son) and he were first cousins and hence had free access to the Royal court. He was contemporaneous with Hosea, Micah and early years with Amos. You can never walk alone you need godly friends to carry the lamp of faith together.

King Uzziah wasn’t a very religious king, in fact he was disobedient and struck with leprosy by God. Religious affairs in the nation were at a low ebb, that’s when God starts stirring up a young man to prophesy and call the nation back to God. Imagine what came out of One obedient life!

Isaiah married a godly woman, she was a support to him in the ministry. She was an anointed lady (Prophetess, Is 8), who no doubt ministered to families and women. They had two sons, Shear-Jashub, (A remnant will return), and when this boy was 8 or 10 years old (estimate), God told the family to have one more child – Maher Shalal Hash baz (hasten to the spoil, speedy to the prey), referring to the impending destruction of Samaria (Northern Israel) and Syria by Assyria. The whole family were signs to that generation for many things (Is 8:18)

Isaiah 1:9, “Except the Lord had left us a small remnant, we should have been destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah”. And then the Holy Spirit gives him this promise that he will see a Remnant returning to the Lord in his lifetime and asks him to name his baby - Shear-jasub : a Remnant will return, not just physical captives returning, but also a people turning to the Lord. Isaiah held on to the promise, each day this boy was a symbol of the Revival promised by the Lord. He worked hard, prayed lots. Much Revelation about Christ followed in his life. God the Father literally unveiled Jesus in all his glory to him- from the virgin birth to Jesus’ ministry to his rejection, Crucifixion and Resurrection and the spread of the Gospel to all nations. Much about the Return of Christ and his Millennial rule upon the earth is found here. Isaiah calls Jesus, the Holy One of Israel (21x this expression occurs in this book).

I would imagine family discussions around the dinner table, about Jesus. He would have a vision and would excitedly share things about Christ to his family, and they would all be so happy and blest. And then tell these to his close friends and Church members etc, Sometimes there were political events, like wars and the King would send some officers to Isaiah’s home to pray and get back with an answer. Governments and armies depended on this one man’s advice for battle strategies and foreign relations etc. All these prophecies were intertwined with the political events, change of regimes, economic recessions etc. Then, it became a small newsletter and then it became a Book.

He prophesied for over 60+ years (750 BC to 680 BC) during 4 kings of Judah. Uzziah was kind of semi-religious to bad, Jotham was good and godly, Ahaz was downright idolatrous and did Baal worship. The last King Hezekiah was an answer to his prayers for decades, he was godly and turned the nation back to God. There was a big Revival during Hezekiah’s time (2 Chron 29-31). A remnant truly turned to the Lord. Shear-Jashub was fulfilled in a good sense. The Revelation of Christ during his time was so immense, and was probably one of the reasons for the Revival. Imagine these 3-4 prophets prophesying together! These men were full of the Holy Spirit.

Even with such a terrific ministry, one day Isaiah was really disappointed, (Is 49), I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for vanity and nothing (v4), then Holy Spirit encourages him saying, “It is not a light thing that I called you to this ministry, I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”(v6). Jesus renewed his strength and made things to come to pass.

Once Sennacherib, King of Assyria came near Jerusalem (701 B.C) and threatened to swallow Judah one shot. How Christ gave the Victory is incredible. 185,000 Assyrian soldiers died in a single night (Is 37). God fought for Israel.

Like many prophets, Isaiah died for his faith. After Hezekiah’s death, his son Manasseh was really wicked and took the land back towards idolatry in a big way. He put old Isaiah in a tree trunk and sawed it in two. That’s what Paul refers to in Heb 11:37, some were stoned, others sawn asunder.

Isaiah led an exemplary life, even Jesus depended on his book, to understand his ministry and his mandate on earth. How much more we should we be reading this book. It is my prayer today that as you get back to the Word, God will renew your strength (Is 40:28-31) and help you to be a witness in your little circle.

Look up a Bible

Reference Below

Subscribe to

devotional emails

Share with friends

Notify of
0 Leave a comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2021